Back to the Roots: Classical Painting and Drawing
A 2011 Course in Review
When we met the first time, I realized they are beginners... but I can't say after these two weeks that they are beginners. They were sleeping artists. It was inside of them; there was no one in the family, in the surroundings, to wake that artist up...and we, we woke them up!Bogdan Koral-Konikowski, instructor
Back to the Roots: A Program of Classical Drawing and Painting was a great success. Each student created 4 or more pieces of art, some as many as 9, employing a variety of techniques and subjects. Beginning with basic form and line in pencil drawings, the students moved on to do sketch work, grisaille (painting in monochrome with shades of gray), and then on to colour with oil and acrylic. They engaged in still-life studies, and learned self-portrait using Rembrandt technique. The beautiful weather provided ample opportunity for a series of landscape studies.
The group displayed great camaraderie, supporting each other in the classroom through difficult projects and enjoying each other's company in their social time. Coming from a variety of artistic backgrounds, some students had experienced many years of visual art practice and professional instruction, while others were 'self-taught,' and some came equipped only with the desire to try for the first time; to do something they had always wanted to do.
The discussions expanded the students' horizons in terms of seeing where the art fits and how much it is connected to the process of creation. It's not just the manual work, but it's also the creativity of the thoughts.Izabella Orzelski-Konikowski, instructor
Persistence, long class hours, and the versatile skills of the instructors contributed to excellent progress for each student. Edmonton artists of Polish heritage, Bogdan and Izabella Konikowski, taught as a husband and wife team, bringing together the diversity of their particular styles and techniques. Through a combination of classes and individual instruction, each student was able to concentrate on particular interests while learning general artistic principles. Students were also able to learn from their peers, in what Izabella called 'a perfect field for them to grow.'
Andrew Fuyarchuk arrived from Ontario to lead the community in the liberal arts portion of the program. His classes provided an informed contemporary context from which to view art, medieval thought and aesthetics. Andrew found that the connection helped the students engage more critically about contemporary art and their own work, deepen their understanding of their faith and see the relevance of the truths held by the Catholic Church. The students were able to allow these truths to bear upon their work and come to life in their art. They found these concepts helped them to make direct connections between their readings and their art classes and they were surprised by the extent to which their artwork was enriched.
The spiritual element of the program combined liturgy of the hours and daily Mass as well as opportunity for spiritual direction and Reconciliation into the weave of each day. Students appreciated being able to balance their hard work with opportunities to pause for prayer. They found they could return to their studies refreshed and with new perspectives. Fr. Joseph Goutier provided a prayerful environment and frequent illustrations of the relevance of art and reason with faith.
The program culminated in an art show which gave the greater community, including friends and family of the students, an opportunity to observe the accomplishments achieved during the course. Among the supporters of Living Water College, Federal MP Leon Benoit, congratulated the students on their fine work and contributions to the community. He spent time with each of the students, observing their works and discussing their ideas. Once more, the activity at Living Water came to a close, but the network of students, staff and instructors remain an active community which continues to encourage their work and fuel their inspirations.